About 90 people attended the annual Café CIC public lecture held at Concordia University of Edmonton in April. This year’s topic was the Passion and Chemistry of Chocolate presented by award-winning chocolatier Brett Roy, founder of the local emporium Sweet Lollapalooza, Ken Schmidt, FCIC, of Wilson Analytical Services Inc., and chemistry professor Dietmar Kennepohl, FCIC. The event was made possible by Concordia University of Edmonton and their co-operative staff, led and organized by chemistry professor emeritus John Woollard MCIC, together with the Edmonton CIC Local Section. The evening was a blend of science, art, and humour, along with musical interludes on the piano by Preston Grey and a much-anticipated, practical laboratory component where six different fine chocolates were sampled and analyzed by the audience.

Chocolatier Brett Roy with some of his amazing creations. Credit: CIC Edmonton section

Chocolatier Brett Roy with some of his amazing creations. Photo credit: CIC Edmonton section

The presentation touched on topics such as the cacao plant from bean to bar, what affects the taste of chocolate, the effect of chocolate on brain chemistry, and the science behind getting those delicious morsels to melt in the mouth and feel just right on the tongue. Exploring the world of chocolate raised some surprising chemistry questions: How is chocolate made? Is eating chocolate healthy? What is this white blotchy stuff on my chocolate bar? Is chocolate really addictive and an aphrodisiac? As one enthusiastic participant, Jonas Kuhn, noted: “At the end of the evening I left the lecture well informed, highly antioxidized, and very happy from eating maybe too much delicious chocolate!”

Café CIC topics over the last decade have included the chemistry of chocolate, wine, beer, tea, coffee, ice cream, Scotch whisky and cheese. This signature event is a relaxed evening get-together that provides the opportunity to showcase the chemical sciences in a fun and entertaining way. Check out the CIC Edmonton section video on organizing and running your own Café CIC at: http://cicedmonton.org/making-of-cafe-cic/